07 Aug 2014 08:20am
RUNDU, 07 AUG (NAMPA) - Over 40 workers employed to at a mass housing project at Rundu downed tools on Wednesday due to the non-payment of their salaries.
The 45 workers, who were employed by Lo-Ammi Trading Construction Company, stopped working around lunchtime because they have not yet received their salaries for July.
This company was sub-contracted by Green Circle Investment Company to build 60 houses in the Rundu mass housing project at the Kaisosi informal settlement as part of the projects first phase.
Workers spokesperson Harusanga Hamusira told this agency on Thursday that according to the two-paged contract which the workers signed earlier, they were supposed to get their salaries at the end of every month.
However, it has been a week now with no sign of them getting their wages.
The disgruntled employees are now demanding their money from their employers as they also have families to support and bills to pay.
The workers decided to stop working because they are worried that they might not get their salaries if they dont put pressure on the company to pay them.
All the 45 workers commenced duties on the construction site on 4 June this year.
Besides the outstanding salaries, they are further complaining that their employers have not supplied any protective clothing such as overall and gloves, and yet they perform heavy duties on site.
They have thus been picking up bricks and handling cement with their bare hands.
Their woes are unending, as the group furthermore complains that their employer has forced them to work from 06h00 in the morning to 18h00 because they are behind schedule with work.
They are, therefore, sceptical whether they will be compensated for overtime since they have not filled in any overtime claim forms.
Hamusira said they are adamant that they will only resume work once their salaries have been paid into their accounts.
Approached for comment, the Lo-Ammi Trading Construction Companys site foreman Victor Chokie said the workers are yet to be paid their salaries because company owner Louis Joubert is currently in neighbouring South Africa, and is unreachable on his mobile phone.
The only problem is the delay in their salary payments.
If the company owner pays the workers, they will continue working, he said.
This reporter attempted to call the company owner on his South African mobile phone, but it was indeed unreachable.
Another site foreman, Christey Nell, said he has also not been paid yet, and is thus in the same predicament.
The Mass Housing project at Rundu kicked off in June this year after experiencing a delay for months due to a land dispute.
This delay was because affected residents were demanding compensation from the contractors before giving up their crop fields.
The National Housing Enterprise (NHE) handed over the site for the houses construction in February this year already, but work could not commence due to that disagreement.
The houses are being built at the Kaisosi informal settlements Extension 10 on the eastern outskirts of Rundu.
The NHE appointed the Green Circle Investment Company from Windhoek to construct 318 houses here at a cost of N.dollars 89 million.